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To Walk Again

Richard Lawson
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It was a routine day

the way to work

marked out by sameness


packed in a steamy cattle truck

like extras in a film

faces closed down


strangers, unknown to anyone

apart from family and friends

apart from those who cry when we're not there



apart from millions who will experience

one tiny shock

to hear what happened next :


a flash of soundless light

changed everything, forever.

Bad editing, a jump


or in a dream,

where brown and red

can shift around


and no-one registers a thing

not for a second

not 'til the pain cuts in.


then it was bellowing of cattle

the noise of fear and pain

worse than an abattoir


much worse than when we kill to eat

neatly, in order.

Why not just line us up


Go there strip off, breathe in and die.

Why not that ordered Nazi neatness

to reach their goal?


Why so much blood?

Why tear us all apart

like spoiled kids


who rip their toys

scream like a jet

and throw red paint against the wall


to get their way?

And yet I know that I'm the lucky one

to have a heart that beats

to spite the empty space below my knees,


and every time my eyelids close

somehow the pinkness of the filtered light

conjures up images of tortured flesh


just torn up flesh,

no more than that

Halal or hamburger,

I do not care


Whether the author of our pain

Is now in heaven with a thousand virgins

Or laughing in his mess with brother officers

I do not care

Or screaming in hell while demons

using exquisite pains

put him together

I do not care

Or in the highest office in the world

bathing in lies

drowned in hypocrisy

I do not care

You who can freely walk the streets

You care. Break the routine of death.

I only want to walk again.

Richard Lawson is general medical practitioner, and a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. He is a founder member of the Campaign for an Index of Human Rights in the UN, and joint International Coordinator for the Green Party of England and Wales. In his spare time he runs Mabinogogiblog

Poem courtesy of Green Health.
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